This year’s Bristol Harbour Festival will have a techie twist as the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) wants to give festival goers a unique view of the three performance stages from their smartphones.

This venture is in conjunction with Bristol’s £9.2M Smart Tourism project. There will be live streaming of 360-degree camera footage that will put 5G tech to the test.

The best view

If you tune into the footage via the University of Bristol’s 5GUK Test Network you’ll have access to two secret performances, exclusive to viewers of the 360 tech. You can expect the best of Bristol celebrated on your screen.

And it’s easy to use – just go to your WiFi seetings and choose harbour360 and go to It’s a free tool that’s only accessible to festival goers in Millennium Square and the Amphitheatre.

Harbour Festival will be taking place on 19-21 July along the waterfront from Welshback to the SS Great Britain.

If you’re wandering around the festival and want to find out more, you can always head over to the Smart Futures marquee in Millennium Square. The stall is there to give visitors the chance to find out more about the project, access to the 360 degree footage and use VR headsets.

Footage will be stored in the Bristol City Council archives creating a unique record of the city’s vibrant culture.

It’s exciting times ahead for the future of 5G, as Margot James, Minister for Digital says, “The Government is investing in the infrastructure that will make Britain fit for the future and a world leader in 5G.”

Thoughtful innovations

At certain times during the festival, the 5G network will be sliced to simulate the use of the network as a robust communications channel for the emergency services during a public safety emergency, while maintaining live streaming of high-quality video footage for users.

The Harbour Festival is also pledging to its application for the Attitude is Everything Award – an initiative to improve deaf and disabled people’s access to live music.

Capturing 360 footage of key routes into the festival will provide disabled visitors with valuable information to make choices about how best to access and navigate the site on the day. In turn, this focus on accessibility will set the precedent for other city based festivals!

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles says, “The West of England is the UK’s leading smart city region. Our work on the use of 5G technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we all live and work, transforming everything from assisted living to air quality. This is a really exciting opportunity to lead the way on the potential for 5G at major public events like the Bristol Harbour Festival. 

“We’re bringing together the region’s talent from our universities, tech and creative sectors to create an exciting new experience for festival goers.  More than that, we are showing how the innovative use of new technologies can make major public events safer and more accessible for all.”

The Bristol Harbour Festival will be taking place 19-21 July along the waterfront. Go to the Festival360 website for more information on the 5G initiative.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.